Saturday, 25 September 2010

SkipNorth Holiday - Limited places Left

SkipNorth - knitting holiday extraordinaire - is filling up fast!

Following the KnitCamp debacle there is some rightful doubt about the safety of paying your money to flybynight event organisers, but SkipNorth is in its sixth year and has never caused anyone to be deported. We've got just 12 places left so move fast to snag one.

If you find the idea of a weekend of knitting/spinning/crocheting, learning, socialising, cake eating and shopping appealing, then you should go here to look at the SkipNorth website. Follow the links to the agenda and booking form.

11th - 13th March, Haworth (in Yorkshire), Awesome. Enough said.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Flattr - I made some money!

Woop woop! I made 2.10 Euros on Flattr.

Well, I say made. I put in 2 Euros so I suppose strictly speaking I made 10 cents, but hey, that's a profit. And I never even joined up to make money - only to show appreciation of the blogposts of others. 

I posted about Flattr before after hearing about it from the amazing Craftypod. To be honest I had kind of forgotten about it but I went on there today out of curiosity and found 2.10 Euros waiting for me. Hubba hubba! If you get 10 Euros you can transfer it to your bank account, but I never intended to make any money so I have transferred it back to my 'giving' pile and so it will be shared out again when I flattr some more people. 

While on I searched for craft blogs and came across Inspiration Junkie. Love it! Sadly led me straight to her etsy shop to spend some money but it is for a birthday present I had been keeping an eye out for so it's all good. Plus, it means the micro-economy of Flattr has led to money entering the macro-economy of Etsy.

And that is pretty cool. 


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Inside my house

I really love having pictures on the walls. I spied this girl with her cat at Greenwich Market at the weekend.
Isn't she adorable? I did have a 'keep calm cast on' print there but that has moved to the opposite wall where I've got a bit of a motley collection going on. 
It is my ambition to have a strip of framed pictures like this going all the way around the room. But that is one of those ambitions that is going to have to wait until I actually own the walls I'm banging nails into.

Monday, 20 September 2010

On Regret and High Society

I've posted before on this blog about 'regrets' and the song 'My Way' by Sinatra. I was rewatching High Society* (Grace Kelly - so very beautiful) last week which of course stars the great Frank. There are some lovely scenes between them where they are both drunk and being all flirty and silly. Of course she's engaged to someone else and this is the night before her wedding, plus her ex-husband (Bing Crosby) is hanging about. Really, it's pretty scandalous stuff. And then in the morning she's trying to piece back together what happened the previous night and is all jumpy because she cannot remember what she did with who (of course she didn't actually do anything naughty because this is a family film).
The song doesn't appear in that film, but it reminded me of it. Especially this bit:

Regrets? I've had a few,
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course -
Each careful step along the byway,
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew,
When I bit off more than I could chew,
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way.

I've loved, I've laughed and cried,
I've had my fill - my share of losing.
But now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that,
And may I say, not in a shy way -
Oh no. Oh no, not me.
I did it my way.

I've been thinking a lot about regrets and whether it is better to regret doing something or to regret not having tried to do something. I've also posted about channelling your inner-17-year-old and I think the two things are connected. My mother was telling me how she wanted to go swimming locally but last time she and my step-dad went they were repeatedly told off by the guard. And to put this in context let me tell you that my mother is quite like Mrs Tiggywinkle.
Me: "What were you doing?"
She: "Well Robbie and I were pretending to be sharks and then I was being a dolphin, and I would leap out of the water like a dolphin and Robbie would catch me."
Me: "Ah"
She: "Yes, they kept saying we just had to swim up and down in the lanes. So we left and haven't been back."
I told this story to my colleagues, and my Director remarked it explained a lot about me. Which is fair comment, since, like my mother, I have always been in the camp of being more likely to regret doing something, than to regret not doing something. Because at least then you know what happened, rather than being in a permanent state of "What if..." In fact...."To think I did all that, And may I say, not in a shy way" could just about sum it up.

So to finish, an example of how this translates into knitting.
This has been variously referred to, but the name I like best is 'malformed buttocks'. It is a bag out of the A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting and is the "Mobius Fanny Basket" which says it all really. It came about because I was very keen on felting at the time, wanted to try the mobius knitting style, and didn't read the instructions properly. So while I am glad I did it (and I later did a cat basket that did work much better), I regret wasting my time on something so freaking ugly and useless. But if I hadn't I'd be wondering what it would have looked like and have convinved myself it would have made my life better in some way.

But really - isn't that the most regrettable knitting object you've ever seen?

*A word of warning - if you google 'High Society' and look at 'images' be aware that it is also the title of a porn magazine. I'm just saying is all. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Steeking #2

Last year I made my first steeked cardigan, made of Kauni. It is in my view the greatest thing I have ever knitted. Yesterday I steeked my second cardigan. For the uninitiated, steeking is where you knit something in the round and then cut it to create a front opening of a cardigan, or a neckline, or an armhole etc. To stop the knitting unravelling you can either perform some sort of crochet magic which I know nothing of, or use a sewing machine to sew a line of small straight stitch either side of your cut, or if you are using 'sticky' wool you don;t need to secure it at all as it basically instantly felts itself together. I'm a sewing machine gal myself.

Here it is pre cutting. 
You add a band of extra stitching for you to cut through and then fold back, before picking up along the edge to add a button band. And here it is after cutting.

I think I've done the neck too high so there may be some impromptu steeking where I cut a new neckline, but that will wait until it is fitted on my mater next weekend. I have a history of taking FOREVER to knit things for relatives so it will come as no surprise that I started this about a year ago. I'm almost there now though. 

The thing I have found with steeking though, is that it is easy to get taken in by the hype. You read a lot about people getting really nervous about it, but if you sew a line and then cut and then don't suddenly start yanking at it, there's not much that can really go wrong. And taking scissors to your knitting is strangely liberating. So if you have avoided steeking, give it a go. It is good and so much easier than trying to do fairisle with the wrong side facing you. 

After my course on machine embroidery and applique at the Make Lounge I wanted to have a go on my own machine. I got the quilting/free motion foot for my machine and yesterday I went for it. Here is what I ended up with. 
Six rather odd looking xmas tree decorations! I tried out a few different designs. It is definitely the ones with the circles I like most though. Like do it yourself polka dots, and after sewing them you get to decide how many and where you want to cut them out. 
They are a bit jobby but you can always rely on your mother to coo over this kind of thing so they are destined for her. 

Pooch has been away all this week and so to cheer myself up I introduced a new friend into the family. 
They are possibly the best shoes I've ever had and arrived chez byrne via Office. They are one of those things that show me up to be terribly shallow and materialistic but I just don't care! Wearing them makes me fabulously happy!

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